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ADB approves another $2m to help curb COVID-19 outbreak

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-28 14:45
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US one hundred dollar notes are seen in this picture illustration taken in Seoul February 7, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) further approved $2 million to help Asia-Pacific developing countries contain the COVID-19 outbreak and improve resilience other communicable diseases.

A source at the Manila-based bank confirmed to Xinhua on Friday that the funds will be available for all ADB developing member countries in updating and implementing their pandemic response plans.

These include buying emergency supplies and equipment, assessing health system and economic impacts to improve future resilience, and coordinating better regionally on disease outbreaks.

According to the Manila-based bank, the work will be conducted in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak is escalating, and past disease outbreaks have had large impacts on social and economic development," said Bambang Susantono, ADB vice president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.

On Feb 7, ADB said it provided $2 million in funds to strengthen the immediate response capacity in countries including Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Over the longer term, the bank said this can be scaled up to focus on supporting pandemic preparedness and building resilience.

ADB also provided a private sector loan of up to 130 million yuan ($18.6 million) to Wuhan, China-based Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd to enhance the distribution and supply of essential medicines and protective equipment.

Past epidemics have shown that impacts can rapidly extend to all areas of a country's economy, triggering fiscal shocks with long-term negative consequences that threaten the stability and economic growth. Countries and businesses that rely on tourism are particularly vulnerable, with trade and supply chains also suffering.

ADB, which was established in 1966 with 68 members, said it is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

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